How the Spectrum Stimulus Credit Can Help You Pay for Internet

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Jun. 22 2021, Published 1:23 p.m. ET

COVID-19 pandemic assistance programs abound, and it's more than the government offering them. Spectrum internet customers have access to their own stimulus credit after the parent company, Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), hopped on board the Emergency Broadband Benefit program from the FCC.

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What does Spectrum's discount include and how do you know if you're eligible?

The details of the Spectrum stimulus credit

Charter Communications runs Spectrum internet as part of its broadband connectivity and cable operator operation. The company has 31 million customers in 41 states, although it isn't clear whether or not that applies only to internet customers or other services as well. After all, Comcast claims that its Xfinity service is the most popular in the U.S. with 26.5 million customers.

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Charter announced that it's participating in the federally introduced Emergency Broadband Benefit program in May. The discount includes one monthly service credit and one device credit per eligible household. People who are eligible will receive $50 off their monthly internet bill from Spectrum (or $75 if you live on Tribal lands in the U.S.). It also includes $100 off one device (laptop, desktop computer, or tablet) if you put $10–$50 down.

The internet credit applies to Spectrum customers

Certain Spectrum customers are eligible for the FCC-led broadband credit. However, you don't have to be a Spectrum customer to access the credit. Other participating broadband providers include Verizon, Comcast, Xfinity, and many more. The FCC lists all of the program providers by state on its website.

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Who's eligible for the Spectrum emergency internet credit?

Spectrum maintains the same requirements for eligibility as the FCC. There are five criteria options, but your household only has to meet at least one of them to qualify.

  1. You're eligible for the Spectrum internet credit if you qualify for the Lifeline program. The FCC's Lifeline program provides low-income consumers with phone service discounts.
  2. If your family receives free or reduced-price school lunches or is part of the school breakfast program, you're eligible. This includes the USDA Community Eligibility Provision and pertains to the current year or 2019–2020.  
  3. You received a Federal Pell Grant (a type of student aid) this year.
  4. Your income shrunk substantially from February 29, 2020. Your household income doesn't exceed $99,000 for individuals or $198,000 for joint filers.
  5. You're eligible for Spectrum's existing low-income program.
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How long does the Spectrum credit last?

The program is temporary. According to Spectrum, customers can expect to receive the credit until "the program funds are exhausted." That means you should apply sooner rather than later.

Apply for the Spectrum internet credit

Apply for eligibility for the Spectrum stimulus credit through the national eligibility verifier at GetEmergencyBroadband.org. You'll need to do this whether you're a new or existing customer. 

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For existing customers, once verified, log in to your Spectrum account and apply for the credit online.

For new customers, once verified, open an account with Spectrum or another participating provider. You will apply for the credit through your account.

As long as you've been verified as eligible in advance, you'll see the credit applied to your next bill statement for the current bill cycle at the time of application.

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